Know Your Turncoats, Part 10: Kin of MP who died by suicide, Sanskrit activist

A series looking at the defectors contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

WrittenBy:Nikita Singh& Sumedha Mittal
Turncoats Chintamani Maharaj, Khagen Murmu, Kalaben Delkar, Jagdish Shettar and Dhairyashil Mane.

Of the 12 turncoats in the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls, six are part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. After looking at two of them in the previous instalment of this series, which focussed on the battle in Guna, including the BJP’s candidate Jyotiraditya Scindia, and his political rival Yadvendra Rao Deshraj Singh of the Congress, we decided to trace the rest of those in the NDA camp elsewhere.

The other five include four from the BJP and one Shiv Sena defector gearing to contest the polls on May 7. 

Kalaben Delkar: Husband’s legacy, Rs 27.6 cr assets, a Porsche 

Kalaben Delkar is the BJP candidate in the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The 53-year-old forayed into electoral politics after her husband and seven-time MP Mohanbhai Delkar died by suicide in February 2021. 

In the bypolls for the constituency reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, Delkar fought on a Shiv Sena ticket and won against the BJP’s Mahesh Gavit by 51,270 votes. She and her son Abhinav met prime minister Narendra Modi in December last year, following which she joined the saffron party. The mother-son duo subsequently urged supporters to “forget old differences” and work with the BJP.

imageby :Kelkar is a social worker and owns businesses and vast lands.

Kelkar, who is a social worker and owns businesses and vast lands, has assets worth Rs 32.46 crore, besides Rs 27.69 crore in a Hindu Undivided Fund account. Her assets include a Porsche car worth Rs 1.61 crore and a Jaguar costing Rs 62 lakh. Her annual income was Rs 78 lakh in the last fiscal year.  

Notably, in the wake of her husband’s death in a Mumbai hotel and the recovery of a purported suicide note, there was high pressue for an investigation. The note had named nine persons for abetting his suicide, including Praful Khoda Patel, UT administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and former BJP minister from Gujarat. The Bombay High Court had subsequently quashed the case.

Khagen Murmu: Santhali leader, 7 criminal cases, kiss controversy

Khagen Murmu is the BJP candidate from West Bengal’s Malda Uttar. The 64-year-old incumbent MP from the Santhal tribal community began his political journey in 1993 as a Malda district parishad member.    

He was with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for 18 years until he joined the BJP in 2019, weeks ahead of the general election which he successfully contested. Before being elected as an MP, Murmu served as a CPIM MLA from Habibpur for four terms.

Murmu has seven cases against him, including a case of assault and criminal force.

The BA graduate from Bihar’s Magadh University has seven cases against him, including a case of assault and criminal force. He is an agriculturist while his spouse is an ICDS worker. His assets stood at Rs 73.46 lakh as of April 2024, as per his affidavit. He had total assets worth about Rs 37 lakh in 2016.  

The lawmaker faced massive protests last year as locals displaced because of erosion along the Ganga river blamed the centre and him for inaction and lack of rehabilitation efforts. River erosion is a major issue in Malda and Murshidabad districts.

Last month, he courted another controversy as a video of him kissing a woman on her cheek during the campaign went viral. The TMC called him “anti-women”. 

It was during Murmu’s speech in Parliament that the security breach occurred

Dhairyashil Mane: From gram panchayat to MP, now Sena vs Sena 

Dhairyashil Mane is the Shiv Sena Shinde faction’s candidate in Maharashtra’s Hatkanangale. The 42-year-old incumbent MP comes from a political family. His mother Nivedita Mane was a two-time Congress MP and grandfather Rajaram Mane a five-time NCP MP from Ichalkaranji. 

imageby :Mane began his political journey from gram panchayat in 2002.

Mane began his political journey from gram panchayat in 2002 and successfully fought his first MP election in 2019, defeating then-incumbent MP Raju Shetti with a margin of over 90,000 votes. The semi-urban constituency is traditionally considered a bastion of farmers’ leader Shetti of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. Shetti is again in the fray, along with Shiv Sena Uddhav Thackeray faction’s Satyajit Patil.   

Mane is an agriculturist by occupation and has no criminal cases, as per his affidavit. Oddly, his wealth plummeted from over Rs 3.59 crore in 2019 to Rs 2.06 crore in 2024.  

Jagadish Shettar: Ex-CM, RSS link, Lingayat big name 

Jagadish Shettar is the BJP’s candidate from Karnataka’s Belgaum. The 68-year-old had defected to the Congress ahead of the Karnataka assembly polls last year on being denied a ticket. The Lingayat leader lost to BJP’s Mahesh Tenginakai by a margin of 35,000 votes.

Shettar is known for mobilising the Lingayat vote in north Karnataka and has family links to the RSS.

About a year later, he returned to the BJP and complained that “workers have no value in Congress”. He alleged that there is “a lot of dissatisfaction” in the Mallikarjun Kharge-led party as “kin of state ministers” were in fray.

Shettar has served as the chief minister of Karnataka from 2012 to 2013. He also served as the state assembly speaker during 2008–2009.

The politician is known for mobilising the Lingayat vote in north Karnataka and has family links to the RSS. His father SS Shettar was also a Jan Sangh leader. The Lingayats form around 18 percent of Karnataka’s population and are an influential voter.

Shettar’s wealth stands at Rs 12.45 crore as of April 2024. It grew significantly from about Rs 4 crore in 2013. 

Chintamani Maharaj: Sanskrit activist, businessman, social reformer 

Chintamani Maharaj is the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from the ST reserved constituency of Surguja in Chhattisgarh. The 56-year-old businessman-farmer is also a self-professed social reformer and organises mass marriages for couples from weaker sections.

His wealth grew from Rs 37 lakh in 2013 to a whooping Rs 3.29 crore in April 2024 – nearly 800 percent.

He is credited to have pushed for the setting up of a Sanskrit college in Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur. Although he went to school only till class 11, he served as the state Sanskrit board chief between 2004 and 2008. 

He began his journey in electoral politics in 2008, unsuccessfully contesting from the Samri assembly polls as an independent candidate. He briefly joined the BJP and then switched to the Congress. He contested the 2013 assembly polls as a Congress candidate from Lundra and secured his first victory. He won in the next state polls from Samri.  

Maharaj jumped ship in October last year, after being denied a Congress ticket for the assembly polls. His return to the BJP was hailed as “ghar wapsi”.

His wealth grew from Rs 37 lakh in 2013 to a whooping Rs 3.29 crore in April 2024 – nearly 800 percent.

For reports that matter, we need a free press. On World Press Freedom Day 2024, power the independent media.

Also see
article imageKnow Your Turncoats, Part 9: A total of 12 turncoats in Phase 3, hot seat in MP’s Guna
article imageKnow Your Turncoats, Part 8: Gorkha leader, ex-MLAs among 13 defectors in INDIA bloc


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